“The Force Will Be With You. Always.” || A New Hope

There was really no other movie I could have written about this week. What can I say about Star Wars? That it’s the movie(s) I most associate with my father? That John Williams’ soaring, celestial score is practically imprinted on my genes? Or perhaps I should admit how, even if I wrote 100 posts on this film, I would still not be able to say all that I want to about that galaxy far, far away…

If I’m being honest, I can’t recall the first time I watched Star Wars with my father. It was just always THERE. Every Christmas, Birthday, and Father’s Day, Dad would inevitably receive a Darth Vader-themed present from my sister and I. He had shelves full of mugs, figures, books, and novelty-items (a lightsaber pen, for example) featuring the Dark Lord. The reason why Star Wars had always been with us, my mom later explained, was because it had always been Dad’s “thing.”

I joke that without Star Wars, I wouldn’t exist. When it debuted in 1977, mom and dad went to the theatre for their first official (solo) date. This went well, so they had another, and another, until finally they had me (there was some other stuff that happened in between). Long after a farm boy, a princess, and a scoundrel first traversed the galaxy, the Force remained strong in my family. And it continues to, even though my father is no longer with us on this particular blue planet. As I near the fourth anniversary of his passing, it only feels right to share my thoughts on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. As summarized on its IMDb page: “Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.”

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Dear, and Amen

How about a little more Cole Porter, eh? Something with a little bounce and cynicism? I swear, I do not have a love/hate flippy-floppy relationship* with happiness and love… composers do.

* Backing tracks, now, those I do love/hate. Thanks for listening!

From the Sun to the Moon

It’s still grey outside, but a little softer today. A little dreamier and wistful. Here’s to a¬† gentle February… or whatever we can make of it.

p.s. Apologies for the quality of some of my earlier audios. I finally figured out how to make it better (by not recording the PC fan) :p

Double Header

Some days you just have to spend 12 hours at work, ya know? Hence, you get two songs today to make up for the fact that I did not post one yesterday… How about two sides of the same coin, eh?

Tails (oh, Cole Porter):

Heads (woe, Yetson and Kopit):

Are You Certain?

For all of our optimism, life really is terribly uncertain. Today’s selection is a literal ballad to uncertainty… particularly in that thing called “love.” I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study… for ever song about love going right, it seems like there’s five more about it going wrong, or less than perfect. Oh right, Valentine’s Day is coming up ūüėČ

The Life of a Song

I was talking about this project with my Maestra today, and she suggested I add some insights about this next piece to my post. What I love about this song is that it seems so simple, but is effective precisely because it doesn’t give everything away in the lyrics. At its core, it is a ballad about a woman who is haunted by a past love and she can’t let go; the story is subtle. It’s not something like “you’re in my heart, my soul, you’re my deepest obsession, and I’ll never get over yooooouuuuuuu.” Instead, she sees him in every mundane aspect of her life. That’s why he’s impossible to shake off. He’s just… there. Bless you, Sondheim.

Parallel Lines

Is there anyone you’re drifting away from?

I looked at the randomly-generated question and felt a familiar weight in my stomach (you know, the one that all the butterflies settle on when they get tired of flapping about). I had been hoping for something sillier from this particular ask meme, but there it was… time to be serious.

I pondered, drumming my fingers against the desk. Certainly, as someone who has moved from place to place, there are people I once knew and whom I have since never spoken to again. Physical distance often causes emotional distance; out of sight and out of mind. And, although there¬†are always social media platforms willing to help me track down play-pals of yesteryear… there are some people from whom I prefer to remain parted. And of course, there are a good handful of people whom I can safely say don’t want me anywhere near their lives as well.

We grow-up; we don’t change, I think, we just simply grow into ourselves. And sometimes in the course of growing up we realize that the people we knew when we were 13 are not the people we want to know at 28.

However, I have (as I’m sure many people do) certain acquaintances with whom I do not wish to be separated… even though it tends to take almost all of¬†the effort on my part to persevere the relationship.

These are the titular “parallel lines.”

When I was in 6th grade, my geometry teacher joked that parallel lines were miserable because “no matter how close they are, they will never get together.”

As my readers doubtless have figured out, I have been blessed with some incredible friends. And within this group, I still count a few unique individuals with whom I rarely speak… and it is even rarer that I see them.

These are individuals whom, when I first knew them, were very close to me; I felt an affinity towards them and they to me (I think; I have eye-witness accounts to support this theory). There were many precious instances, in fact, when they and I were inseparable. We not only enjoyed each others’ company, but shared an understanding of the silence between words; we understood each other. It was intimate, at times frightening… and perhaps it was even a little delusional (a shared delusion, regardless).

However, in the course of growing up and moving away from the places where these friendships were formed, separations outnumber the reunions. Yet whenever I see these old friends again, our brief time together is joyous; in the space of 30 minutes we somehow manage  to compress the years apart to nothing.

But after these reunions? The silence returns. And I find myself questioning whether the relationships are worth struggling to keep. I dread the occasion when I will next see them and discover a void where once conversation flowed like a mountain stream. I do not want to thirst after their company for the rest of my life but, thus far, I do.

So then, what is the solution? Do I shrug my shoulders and murmur something about “ships in the night?” Do I let them disappear over the horizon towards new lands and take an ax to the ship-to-ship radio? Or is it better to stay my course, as a little parallel line to these friends, and simply cherish the closeness I feel to them, even if the “coming together” is, logically, never to occur?

The math, as before, remains a mystery…

Dear Friend

I’ve been thinking of the transient nature of life. Almost since I was born, I have moved every four or so years. When people ask me “where I’m from” or what my “hometown” is, I laugh. And then, after apologizing for giggling, I take a deep breath and start ticking off the locations on my fingers: Born in Washington, moved to Texas, than Cheyenne Wyoming, then Maryland, college in California, and back up to Washington. “I guess I’ve come full circle,” I chuckle, even as I wonder when the circle will break and I’ll find myself elsewhere.

The longer I stay in one place, however, the closer I am to finding “home,” because the people I encounter during this time become very special friends.¬† These friends are special not because they are superior to others, but because they inevitably see more of my life and who I am.

These friendships start with shared interests (theatre, choir, school, career), which then extend into shared sympathies and humors. As time passes, I inevitably grow to have an understanding with these friends; an understanding of what is said in silence; an understanding of the words beneath the words; and an understanding of their hopes and fears… past, present, and future.

And it seems strange, at times, to realize that some of these friends of whom I am thinking, are people whom I rarely engage in conversation anymore, or even see.

I suppose the nature of adulthood is that we leave things behind. The myth of adulthood is that we ever do. When someone has truly touched your heart, in any way, it lingers; like a spray of water upon your skin, even after you’ve wiped it away.

We don’t shed people and places, we carry them with us; wrapping ourselves up in a quilt of memories; each thread a link to what was, each square a fragment of recollection. These memories are imperfect, idealized, but they comfort us, and strengthen us, so we cherish them, even when they start getting a bit tattered around the edges.

It never ceases to amaze me how powerful these connections are, and how some friendships continue to endure in spite of neglect. These people re-enter our lives in “very unusual ways” : an unsolicited letter of love when we are feeling utterly alone; spending time with someone after five years apart, and feeling like it was just yesterday that you said “see ya’ around”; the voice in your head, which offers counsel during times of trouble, taking on the tones of a childhood companion.

Instances like these make me reflect that although life is transient, and I myself am never destined to remain in one place for very long, everywhere I go is home so long as a friend is there.